Firefox corrects protocol typos now

Martin Brinkmann
May 5, 2014
Updated • May 5, 2014

When it comes to entering addresses in Firefox's urlbar, I experience two common issues.

The first detects every period that you enter as part of an address even if you want to perform a search. So, if you search for msconfig.exe, the url http://msconfig.exe/ is being opened which for obvious reasons fails.

There is a fix for that and it is easy enough to implement as you ca run explicit searches by starting queries with a period with a ?. If you search for ?msconfig.exe, Firefox will run a search for the term and not try to open it.

The second issue is about typos. I'm not talking about common address typos, such as instead of, but about scheme typos.

If you type ttp:// then you get an error message that the address was not understood, even if if should be pretty clear which protocol you wanted to use.

firefox the address wasnt understood

Mozilla has corrected some of the issues that you may experience in Firefox 29. If you type the same query in the browser's address bar now, you will notice that it will be auto-corrected so that you land on the right page.

So what is being auto-corrected now, and what is not?

  • ttp:// --> http://
  • ttps:// --> https://
  • tps:// --> https://
  • ps:// -->  https://
  • ile:// --> file://
  • le:// --> file://

Whenever you make a typo in the address bar that matches one of the strings above, you will notice that it is automatically corrected in Firefox 29 or newer.

Please note that this only affects protocol typos that you type, not links on websites. If a protocol typo was published on a website, it won't be auto-corrected by Firefox.

There is no preference currently that provides you with an option to turn this feature off. While there is little reason to do so for the majority of users, it seems to cause issues sometimes when you are redirected from ttps:// to a https website. If you type ttps::// for example, you will receive a certificate warning informing you that the connection is untrusted.

This does not happen if you open the url directly in the address bar.

If you are interested in how the developer came up with the idea, check out the blog post that highlights it.

The auto-correction should help the majority of Firefox users. While I cannot confirm that I'll benefit from this a lot, there may be others who do. I would like to see a preference added to the browser however so that it is possible to disable the feature.

Firefox corrects scheme typos now
Article Name
Firefox corrects scheme typos now
Mozilla has added auto-correction to Firefox that fixes some protocol typos automatically in the browser.

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  1. Zsolt said on June 15, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Pfff. If someone only uses one search engine he can use the searchbar. Otherwise use keyword searches.

  2. me said on May 12, 2014 at 7:17 am

    most likely, this feature is directed at copy & paste attempts that miss the first few letters. surely that’s much more likely than someone manually typing in a url, including the scheme. (most users will just type the scheme-specific part and let the browser fill in “http” automatically.)

  3. Hy said on May 6, 2014 at 11:25 am

    This post is so timely! Thank you. I have been continually vexed lately, searching from the address bar, to be running into this problem everytime I tried to do a search on an .exe in running processes. I never knew it was so easy to overcome by putting the question mark first.

    Thank you yet again, Martin, for another extremely useful fix to one of life’s little daily annoyances!

    P.S. You’re right about Text Link for clicking through plaintext links on web pages. But I see in the advanced configuration options for Text Link (never looked there before) there appear to be rules for handling protocols and correcting mis-typed URLs.

    @David: Thanks for making me laugh. Indeed, who does type “ps” instead “https”? :)

  4. Bill said on May 6, 2014 at 1:50 am

    The Fx add-on “Text Link” has done this, like, … forever.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 6, 2014 at 8:16 am

      Unless I’m mistaken, Text Link only does so for links on web pages. This improvement changes this for the address bar only.

  5. David said on May 5, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Excellent. A Mozilla developer to direct my feature requests to. Bwahahah

    Who types ps instead of https? What if ps:// is handled by some random program, like skype has skype://

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